Relative of Detained Vietnamese American Assaulted after Visiting Him in HCM City-based Detention

From left to right: Tran Long Phi, Nguyen Phuong Minh, Quoc Bao and Hoang Duc Thanh Binh

Defend the Defenders, October 4, 2018


Plainclothes agents have assaulted a relative of Michael Minh Phuong Nguyen, a Vietnamese American who was detained by Vietnam’s security forces in early July, after she visited him in the temporary detention facility under the authority of Ho Chi Minh City’s Police Department.

The incident happened on September 6, not far from the temporary detention facility which is located in Phan Dang Luu street, Binh Thanh district. The attackers riding on several motorbikes chased her when she left the facility, kicking her motorbike and knocking her down on street, activist Tran Van Long told Defend the Defenders.

Due to the assault, one of hear legs was broken, said Mr. Long, the father of young activist Tran Long Phi, who was also arrested together with Michael Minh Phuong Nguyen. The victim was scared and kept the assault in secret until recently when she shared the news on the attack with him nearly one month after being attacked, Long noted.

In the first week of July, Michael Minh Phuong Nguyen, Tran Long Phi, Huynh Duc Thanh Binh went to visit the central cities of Hue and Danang. When they returned to HCM City, they were followed by plainclothes agents.

On July 7, they went missing as their relatives and friends couldn’t contact with them. Next day, police arrested Huynh Duc Thinh, the father of Huynh Duc Thanh Binh.

In late July, the police in HCM City gave a notice to Binh’s family, saying he is charged with subversion under Article 109 of the 2015 Penal Code. He is facing a life imprisonment or even the capital punishment if is convicted, according to the current Vietnamese law. His lawyer is denied of participating in his interrogation, the family said.

Police still hold Michael Minh Phuong Nguyen, Huynh Duc Thinh and Tran Long Phi incommunicado without announcing their charges.

Mr. Long said his family is permitted to send food and clothes to the facility for his son. The family has yet to receive an arrest warrant and a detention order in his case.

Meanwhile, authorities in Bao Loc district, Lam Dong province have intimidated the family of Huynh Duc Thinh, a former political prisoner. Police raid his agricultural shop and regularly conduct administrative checkings in order to halt its operations.

Mr. Michael Minh Phuong Nguyen’s family is in the US. He visited his native Vietnam in early July and got arrested.

Abduction of activists is a common practice implemented by Vietnam’s security forces in recent years.

In the first week of September, the police in HCM City also kidnapped eight members of the unregistered group Hiến Pháp (Constitution) namely Ngo Van Dung, Doan Thi Hong, Do The Hoa, Tran Phuong, Tran Hoang Lan, Hung Hung and Ho Dinh Cuong and arrested Huynh Truong Ca for their participation in the mass protest in mid June. Ca was charged with “making, storing, [or] spreading information, materials, [or] items for the purpose of opposing the government” under Article 117 of the Penal Code. Police hold all of them in custody without informing their families about their arrests and detentions.

In a bid to silence dissidents and bloggers, Vietnam has arrested 24 activists so far this year. The communist regime has also convicted 33 activists, sentencing them to a total 225.5 years in prison and 56 years of probation, according to Defend the Defenders’ statistics.